The Aquarium Vet has developed the first online course for aquarists. The e-quarist course™, launched in 2011, is now studied by students on six continents. The Aquarium Vet is an accredited Learning Partner of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“The e-quarist course was written because several years ago, I realised that there was no shortcut available to gaining knowledge and experience in the aquarium field. To assist others in not taking as long as I did, I have written the first online aquarium medicine course in the world.” Dr. Rob Jones.

The course is designed for aquarists from all fields who want to fast-track their knowledge and skills. Potential students include:

  • Public aquariums, zoo aquarists and front-of-house staff
  • Zebra fish facility aquarists
  • Aquarium shop owners and staff
  • Aquarium fish wholesalers
  • Fish hobbyists and breeders
  • Veterinarians and veterinary technicians/students
  • Aquaculture industry

For facilities with many aquarists, The Aquarium Vet offers Multi-Student Annual Plans (MSAPs) to enable even more cost-effective education. Please see the two documents, one priced in AUD (click here) and the other in USD (click here).

The Aquarium Vet is proudly associated with Vetacademy – an international provider of Continuing Education to the veterinary profession. All modules of the e-quarist course that are currently available are also listed in the Vetacademy website.


The Aquarium Vet also has an association with the San Diego Zoo Global Academy. Together we promote online education in the aquarium and zoo industries.


The Aquarium Vet online e-quarist course

The initial course includes nine modules which focus on fish and aquarium invertebrates. From 2017 onwards, modules on Penguins, Sea Turtles and Alligators / Crocodiles will be available. The current nine modules are:

1. Fish Anatomy and Physiology – examines teleost anatomy in its wide forms as well as practical physiology. To understand how fish survive in an aquatic environment is critical to maintaining their health and wellbeing. Normal anatomy is critical for diagnostics and post-mortems (module 2). Fish welfare (which is becoming increasingly important) will be covered in this section as will be the safe handling of fish.
Available Now click here to register.

2. Disease Concepts and Diagnostics – examines the concept of disease and what factors trigger disease. Will discuss stress as an important factor in the development of disease. Discusses the immune system and its involvement. Steps to making a diagnosis. The diagnostic section covers basic sample collection and examination such as gill biopsies and will include a section on sedation / anaesthesia of fish. Euthanasia will be discussed. Proper post-mortem technique and sample collection will be covered. The concept of quarantine and biosecurity will be addressed, as well as introducing new animals to the aquarium environment. Disinfection processes. Zoonoses.
Available Now click here to register

3. Water Chemistry and Quality – what is it and why it is the key to successful fish keeping? The nitrogen and carbon cycles will be discussed in detail. All water quality parameters (both freshwater and marine) will be covered as well as water testing. The importance of good record keeping in all aspects of aquarium husbandry will be covered as well as providing record templates. Fish transport will also be covered in this module, including the IATA guidelines.
Available Now click here to register

4. Life Support Systems – the foundation for excellent water quality. Examines the various types of filtration available. Examines biofiltration , ozone and ultra-violet and their uses. Practical hydrology – pump selection etc. How to maintain the optimum water chemistry and quality for the fish you are keeping.
Available Now click here to register

5. Diseases and Treatments – examines the various groups of diseases – protozoans, bacteria, fungus, virus etc. Once a diagnosis is made – how do you successfully treat the problem using a holistic approach? Non-infectious diseases, such as gas bubble disease, will also be covered.
Available Now click here to register

6. Nutrition and Reproduction – the basics of nutrition - protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. What they are and why they are important? Types of foods, including live foods and their production. Covers food acquisition, storage, preparation and handling. Will also address target feeding of specimens in a mixed species display. The importance of nutrition on the immune system. Reproduction and basic genetics.
Available Now click here to register

7. Elasmobranchs – deals solely with elasmobranchs which are a vital part of our large aquarium displays. It will examine anatomy and physiology as they differ from teleosts, as well as any other differences in handling, sample techniques, diseases and treatments etc. Shark transport and exhibit design for sharks will be addressed. Reproduction including artificial techniques will be included in this module.
Available Now click here to register

8. Invertebrates I – Crustaceans and Molluscs (cephalopods) – examines anatomy and physiology as well as husbandry and breeding. Diagnostics will be covered, as well as diseases and treatments.
Available Now click here to register

9. Invertebrates II – Corals and Sea Jellies – examines anatomy and physiology as well as husbandry and breeding. Diagnostics will be covered, as well as diseases and treatments.
Available 2018


What does the e-quarist course™ consist of ?
Each module so far is averaging 35,000 – 40,000 words, often with accompanying pictures adding up to approximately 160 – 180 pages of a Word document. The time involved in reading the material and sitting the examination would be between approximately 20 and 30 hours for each module.
As I have spent hundreds of hours writing each module there are some restrictions on the course material. The course documents are embedded into our Learning Management System (LMS) that is easily logged onto by the student who has access to it on two computers and there is a print capability. It is not possible to make copies or forward the document by email.

What is the cost of the e-quarist course™ ?
Each module is AUD $298 (including GST). However, if a student signs up for four modules in one purchase, the fee is AUD $998 (including GST). We have designed a price range for facilities with multiple staff so please go to the ‘Multi Student Annual Plan’ tab.

Do I have a guarantee that the e-quarist course™ will suit my needs ?
The e-quarist course™ comes with a complete 7 day money back guarantee. Initially a trial version (which will not be printable) will be sent which expires after seven days. If no claim is made then a permanent version will be sent which has full print capability. Since commencing in 2011, we are still yet to issue a refund.

Do I receive any accreditation for the e-quarist course™ ?
At the end of each module there is an online multiple-choice examination. As this is an “open book” examination, the pass mark is 100%. Multiple attempts are permitted. Students who pass the examination will receive a Certificate of Completion.

What support do I receive for the e-quarist course™ ?
The Aquarium Vet offers email support and will answer queries related to the modules purchased to assist students. For students who do not study the modules sequentially their questions may be answered in previous modules, which is frustrating for them and us. All is explained hence the recommendation to start at the beginning. Due to time constraints and the sheer size of the course, general enquiries may not always receive a reply.
Free Monthly Webinars for all students of the e-quarist course™, discussing various aspects of two modules, including questions and answers are available. The webinars are also available to all students within the LMS to be listened to at any time.
Weekly emails with “Words of the Week”, news and Webinar invitations are sent to all students.

What is the standard of the e-quarist course™ ?
The course is to a Diploma / Degree level standard. However, it has been written assuming no prior scientific knowledge and is designed to be very practical.
We are an accredited learning partner with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
We are now recognized internationally within the aquarium industry and our hope is that this course will be the standard of education required to gain a position within the industry.